Mike's M3 Lee #12 Little Build Things

Forum for discussion relating to the M3 Lee nd Grant Medium Tank
Mike Conley
Posts: 97
Joined: Wed Aug 28, 2013 3:03 pm
Location: Catlettsburg, Kentucky USA
Has liked: 88 times
Been Liked: 97 times

Mike's M3 Lee #12 Little Build Things

Post by Mike Conley » Sun Apr 14, 2019 8:35 pm

I usually don't show much of my Armortek builds but if I run on to any 'tip' to builders I'll post it. I've been working on little things on this M3 Lee build until the Motion Pack gets here: rounding machining corners, putting on cast numbers, applying 'cast' texture, painting the inside surfaces white, little things like that. But I've seen a minor thing that could be done to save yourself (or the next owner) a lot of frustration years from now.

On the Sherman forum I showed how I had to take the swingarms off so I could put on update stuff (first pic here). The Sherman has a three bolt bracket on the bottom of the suspension housing that ya can take off. This helped a LOT to get the swingarm axles out with pliers. Most came out without too much of a 'fight' but there were two axles that were pretty much seized in the swingarms. Over the years the thin coating of grease had dried out and they DID NOT WANT to come out! Even the swingarms were awfully stiff to even move. Had a HECK of a time with ViceGrips and a small hammer to get'em out enough to tilt'em out. Once out, had to used a brass punch and hammer to fully push'em thru.

Now I've noticed on the M3 there's no three bolt bracket on the housing bottoms and just two holes for'em. To try to get THESE M3 axles out, if they're dry and seized, well there ain't really no way to even get a hold of'em! If a tire needed changed or a swingarm needed grease, what'er ya gonna do to git that axle out? You could do like me and have a few beers and think on it OR you could have already done a pre-emptyive strike on'em!

The real M3 has axles with holes in the ends anyway. So I put each swingarm and wheel axle in the lathe and drilled a hole in each one because it looks 'right' AND so years/decades from now, when I (or the next owner) needs to try to get the axles out, they'll at least have a hole to maybe bind a metal screw or 'easy out' in to bind and help twist/pull'em out. Better than just a smooth axle face to start with. I would have also tapped the holes but I don't have a tap that small...

If you're building the M3, think about getting this done. Surely you 'know somebody' who 'knows somebody' who 'works with somebody' who has a lathe that can take a few minutes to drill holes in the swingarm/wheel axles. Or even a machine shop cause it'd only take a couple minutes...

Mike (the one in Kentucky!)
Attachments
MVC-004S.JPG
MVC-004S.JPG (39.17 KiB) Viewed 3573 times
MVC-005S.JPG
MVC-005S.JPG (40.77 KiB) Viewed 3573 times
MVC-006S.JPG
MVC-006S.JPG (37.53 KiB) Viewed 3573 times
MVC-007S.JPG
MVC-007S.JPG (38.26 KiB) Viewed 3573 times
Last edited by Mike Conley on Sun Apr 14, 2019 11:43 pm, edited 9 times in total.
Armortek Models: Tiger 1, Panther G, Panzer IV, Sd Kfz 7, Sd Kfz 222, M4A3 Sherman, M3 Lee. Tamiya Models: Tiger 1 (3), King Tiger (3), Panther, Sherman (5).

Mike Conley
Posts: 97
Joined: Wed Aug 28, 2013 3:03 pm
Location: Catlettsburg, Kentucky USA
Has liked: 88 times
Been Liked: 97 times

Re: Mike's M3 Lee #12 Little Build Things

Post by Mike Conley » Sun Apr 14, 2019 9:45 pm

On all my tanks I initially paint the inside panels Krylon 'Paint & Primer Semi Gloss White'. That paint gets hard and still reflects light. It's easier to do it right off than wish you'd'a done it before you started bolting the hull plates together!

As soon as I wash the oil off and they're dry, I like to lay everything out and spray the inside surfaces. That way, after it's built, anytime in the future when I have to mess around inside I can SEE a LOT better. If I drop a screw or have to fix a wire the white interior makes everything stand out. And it looks pretty 'neat & clean' to anybody looking inside there too!

Another thing I found out, before you install the lower hull side plates (for the suspension housings), be sure to tap the two rear hull upper side 'ears' straight out to match the side panels. AND you may have to grind off a 'little' of the ear outside surfaces (and the rivets each side) where they join so the side plates go together flush. That is a BIG help when it comes time to line up all the holes of the two rear idler housings. ( I had to loosen the side plates and use a grinder to take off some of the ear faces (and the rivet ends!)

Mike
Attachments
MVC-004S.JPG
MVC-004S.JPG (39.01 KiB) Viewed 3536 times
Armortek Models: Tiger 1, Panther G, Panzer IV, Sd Kfz 7, Sd Kfz 222, M4A3 Sherman, M3 Lee. Tamiya Models: Tiger 1 (3), King Tiger (3), Panther, Sherman (5).

User avatar
Adrian Harris
Posts: 3692
Joined: Thu Jul 12, 2007 10:46 pm
Location: Berkshire (UK)
Has liked: 135 times
Been Liked: 216 times

Re: Mike's M3 Lee #12 Little Build Things

Post by Adrian Harris » Mon Apr 15, 2019 6:47 pm

I've written a couple of short programs for my CNC lathe to chamfer the inner end - to make it easier to align with the inside of the bogie - and drill a hole in the outer end.

I also found this photo on the shadock.fr site, showing an M3 based T2 tank recovery vehicle which appears to be tied down by loops bolted into these holes:

trv_7.jpg
trv_7.jpg (167.98 KiB) Viewed 3463 times

So they obviously had more than one use.

Adrian.
R.I.P Margaret I.L.Y

Mike Conley
Posts: 97
Joined: Wed Aug 28, 2013 3:03 pm
Location: Catlettsburg, Kentucky USA
Has liked: 88 times
Been Liked: 97 times

Re: Mike's M3 Lee #12 Little Build Things

Post by Mike Conley » Wed Apr 17, 2019 5:52 pm

Pete has a REALLY GREAT idea to turn the hull over when you're installing the suspension! I just found that makes it a LOT easier pushing DOWN on the swingarm springs when trying to put the axles in rather than trying to lift UP on'em!

AND I figured, with the hull bottom facing UP, this would be a pretty good time to cut off the ends of those five lower trans cover bolts sticking thru. I didn't want them things hanging down just in case I ever lose control and this M3 decides to run over me! Without them bolts sticking down the bottom is a LOT SMOOTHER and it probably wouldn't hurt as much if in the chance the hull slides across my face. Ya gotta THINK A HEAD on some thangs!!
Attachments
MVC-004S.JPG
MVC-004S.JPG (37.95 KiB) Viewed 3345 times
Armortek Models: Tiger 1, Panther G, Panzer IV, Sd Kfz 7, Sd Kfz 222, M4A3 Sherman, M3 Lee. Tamiya Models: Tiger 1 (3), King Tiger (3), Panther, Sherman (5).

Mike Conley
Posts: 97
Joined: Wed Aug 28, 2013 3:03 pm
Location: Catlettsburg, Kentucky USA
Has liked: 88 times
Been Liked: 97 times

Re: Mike's M3 Lee #12 Little Build Things

Post by Mike Conley » Mon Apr 22, 2019 4:53 pm

Since I'm still waiting on those M2 locknuts and stuff from ECA to get here, I figured I'd do some of those little detail things that need to be done but dread doing. But NOT when we got a good movie to watch (Bomahemian Rapserdy cause I like Queen's music) and ice cold beer in the fridge!

This morning I used the right rear storage box to mark the side heights of the left tall one. I used a hacksaw to cut the corners then my Dremel with the large cutting wheels (took 1.5 of'em) to cut around. I had one slightly high corner and the bench grinder took care of that.

The rear engine deck needed the impression of lines for the individual plates. I had to do it with the Sherman too so kinda knew how to do it. Clamped a straight edge, used a pointed bit, and very lightly (not deep) cut along'em. The Sherman's was a LOT harder because it's upper deck is STEEL. Glad this plate is aluminum.

I'm going to redo the commander's hatch. The cut is too far forward for it to fold out good. I ordered a 3mm (1/8") sheet of aluminum and I'm going to cut it in two more back past the hatch center. That way the 'short' half folds under the front long hatch when they're open. And I'm going to only use one bolt in the center of the hinges on one side. That way it'll miss the opposite two and the hatch can fold down flatter.

And I have a piece of square brass so I'm going to try to whittle the two hatch supports that go on the front sides. I'll put them on after the hatch is installed so I get the height right.

It's getting warmer so I'm getting busier out in the garage. I'll post an update when I get something done worth seeing.

Mike (the one in Kentucky!) (UPDATE: Two hours after this post, I received the 3mm sheet so I'll be working on that now.)
Attachments
MVC-003S.JPG
MVC-003S.JPG (38.65 KiB) Viewed 2955 times
MVC-004S.JPG
MVC-004S.JPG (38.96 KiB) Viewed 2955 times
MVC-005S.JPG
MVC-005S.JPG (38.66 KiB) Viewed 2955 times
Armortek Models: Tiger 1, Panther G, Panzer IV, Sd Kfz 7, Sd Kfz 222, M4A3 Sherman, M3 Lee. Tamiya Models: Tiger 1 (3), King Tiger (3), Panther, Sherman (5).

Mike Conley
Posts: 97
Joined: Wed Aug 28, 2013 3:03 pm
Location: Catlettsburg, Kentucky USA
Has liked: 88 times
Been Liked: 97 times

Re: Mike's M3 Lee #12 Little Build Things

Post by Mike Conley » Tue Apr 23, 2019 4:10 pm

Well that was a bonehead move on my part. I cut the new hatches this morning with the mid break further back. I DIDN'T take in to account the thickness of the hatch when it goes to fold over then under the front hatch. The rear half moon hatch, when it's folded under the front hatch, makes 6mm together and that's too thick for the height of the hinge pivot point.

So, if I'm going to put a commander in that hatch, it'd just be best to use the original hatch and only fold the rear half moon hatch over the front one without having both open all the way. With only the rear open there'd be enough room for the commander (Ed Harris) to be in position comfortably.

OR I have a sheet of aluminum 1.60mm thick that would be closer in thickness to the hinges to be able to (maybe) fold the rear under to open all the way. I'll give that a try and let ya know how THAT turns out soon. (that 1.60 will be a lot easier to cut/trim than this 3mm!)

Mike (the King of the Boneheads in Kentucky!)
Attachments
MVC-006S.JPG
MVC-006S.JPG (39.13 KiB) Viewed 2863 times
Armortek Models: Tiger 1, Panther G, Panzer IV, Sd Kfz 7, Sd Kfz 222, M4A3 Sherman, M3 Lee. Tamiya Models: Tiger 1 (3), King Tiger (3), Panther, Sherman (5).

Vince Cutajar
Posts: 990
Joined: Wed Nov 15, 2017 1:43 pm
Location: Malta
Has liked: 111 times
Been Liked: 276 times

Re: Mike's M3 Lee #12 Little Build Things

Post by Vince Cutajar » Tue Apr 23, 2019 4:31 pm

Well that was a bonehead move on my part.
Don't worry Mike. I know that feeling all too well myself :cry: :cry: .

Vince

User avatar
Adrian Harris
Posts: 3692
Joined: Thu Jul 12, 2007 10:46 pm
Location: Berkshire (UK)
Has liked: 135 times
Been Liked: 216 times

Re: Mike's M3 Lee #12 Little Build Things

Post by Adrian Harris » Tue Apr 23, 2019 4:57 pm

Looks like on the real ones, the hinges fold into each other, so the bolts don't clash.

Could it be the button heads which are hitting each other ? Could you swap them for CSK instead ?

Adrian.
R.I.P Margaret I.L.Y

Mike Conley
Posts: 97
Joined: Wed Aug 28, 2013 3:03 pm
Location: Catlettsburg, Kentucky USA
Has liked: 88 times
Been Liked: 97 times

Re: Mike's M3 Lee #12 Little Build Things

Post by Mike Conley » Tue Apr 23, 2019 6:59 pm

I was thinking about using those CSK screws too. Those button heads are pretty tall and I'm going to look thru my surplus stock and see if I have any single slot screws. And tomorrow morning I'm going to go ahead and cut this thinner aluminum to see if those will work. I'm having fun building this M3 and do as much as I want to because I have all summer.

The M2 locknuts came in so I've been out there putting some track together. AND because of that, in the last 45 minutes of putting these tracks together, I've came to the collusion that IF Armortek EVER decides to come out with an M4A3E8 'Easy Eight' Sherman, I MAKE A MOTION that it use CAST, ONE LINK T66 tracks! With them you just shove a pin in, spread a cotter pin, and you're done! May I get a Second?

Mike
Armortek Models: Tiger 1, Panther G, Panzer IV, Sd Kfz 7, Sd Kfz 222, M4A3 Sherman, M3 Lee. Tamiya Models: Tiger 1 (3), King Tiger (3), Panther, Sherman (5).

Pete Nash
Posts: 287
Joined: Sat Oct 01, 2016 10:11 am
Location: Near Ipswich, suffolk
Has liked: 367 times
Been Liked: 127 times

Re: Mike's M3 Lee #12 Little Build Things

Post by Pete Nash » Wed Apr 24, 2019 3:23 pm

You didn't look at the Track build Thread for some tips mike?
viewtopic.php?f=59&t=7627

Mike Conley
Posts: 97
Joined: Wed Aug 28, 2013 3:03 pm
Location: Catlettsburg, Kentucky USA
Has liked: 88 times
Been Liked: 97 times

Re: Mike's M3 Lee #12 Little Build Things

Post by Mike Conley » Wed Apr 24, 2019 5:36 pm

Hi Pete!

Yes, I've been using the wood block I show on there as a jig for building these tracks. The 'difficult' part for me is my old, thick, stiff fingers. It was the same when I did my Sherman tracks, I fumble around and that's why I only try to do 10-20 links a sitting that way I don't get burned out on'em.

AND, this morning I cut the 1.60mm aluminum sheet in to the two hatches and they turned out PERFECT! I didn't have any tiny single slot CSK screws so I used Philips heads. The botton heads were too tall for the hatches to close but these flush ones clear everything.

I kept moving the crease toward the rear and now it folds great! Just to be sure I only used one screw (instead of the two) in the center of the hinge. I was just 'Eyeballing & Figuring' (SWAG) on where to put the final crease, checking on where the small hatch would fold under the larger and contact the hull, and I cut'em that size. The front hatch, front to back, is 42.92mm wide.

I still have cut the two hatch supports (look like little horns) that are on each side, then the folded hatch will fit more level but it don't look too bad now. But Commander 'Ed Harris' seems to like it!!

Mike
Attachments
MVC-004S.JPG
MVC-004S.JPG (39.14 KiB) Viewed 2769 times
MVC-003S.JPG
MVC-003S.JPG (39.58 KiB) Viewed 2769 times
MVC-002S.JPG
MVC-002S.JPG (39.1 KiB) Viewed 2769 times
MVC-001S.JPG
MVC-001S.JPG (37.47 KiB) Viewed 2769 times
Armortek Models: Tiger 1, Panther G, Panzer IV, Sd Kfz 7, Sd Kfz 222, M4A3 Sherman, M3 Lee. Tamiya Models: Tiger 1 (3), King Tiger (3), Panther, Sherman (5).

User avatar
Robert E Morey
Posts: 1656
Joined: Wed Jul 18, 2007 12:59 am
Location: Seattle, WA USA
Been Liked: 56 times

Re: Mike's M3 Lee #12 Little Build Things

Post by Robert E Morey » Thu Apr 25, 2019 6:31 pm

Looking good Mike. That cupola is tiny though. Where is the back end of the .30 cal MG going to go? Loks like it would have to be dismounted if the CDR is standing in the hatch?

I'm enjoying the progress on the Grants and Lee's, unique tanks for sure.
Bob

User avatar
Adrian Harris
Posts: 3692
Joined: Thu Jul 12, 2007 10:46 pm
Location: Berkshire (UK)
Has liked: 135 times
Been Liked: 216 times

Re: Mike's M3 Lee #12 Little Build Things

Post by Adrian Harris » Thu Apr 25, 2019 7:11 pm

When you see a commander in the cupola with the MG mounted, they're usually standing at an angle:

M3 Lee Commander.jpg
M3 Lee Commander.jpg (42.28 KiB) Viewed 2697 times

Adrian
R.I.P Margaret I.L.Y

Mike Conley
Posts: 97
Joined: Wed Aug 28, 2013 3:03 pm
Location: Catlettsburg, Kentucky USA
Has liked: 88 times
Been Liked: 97 times

Re: Mike's M3 Lee #12 Little Build Things

Post by Mike Conley » Thu Apr 25, 2019 11:14 pm

THANKS Bob & Adrian for being so 'observant' about how tight the MG turret is. Something I didn't think about... SO I legged it out to the garage and checked... and you're right. (Maybe Commander Ed Harris is just REALLY slim?)

The M1919A4, in the pivot mount, hits the rear of the little commanders turret even before the mount is all the way in. I initially thought about putting the turret in my LITTLE lathe and dishing it out 'half moon' in the middle because the sides are thick. But with MY extremely basic skill with my lathe I deduced THAT was a VERY BAD IDEA! I'd probably be ordering a new turret or going to the Emergency Room or BOTH!

So I figure I could cut a square notch (the width of the MG) in the back of the mount. I might try that. Also I thought about trying to redo the hatches again but that would take a lot to make ANOTHER set so I'll just stick with these.

Mike
Attachments
MVC-007S.JPG
MVC-007S.JPG (39.75 KiB) Viewed 2662 times
MVC-006S.JPG
MVC-006S.JPG (40.68 KiB) Viewed 2662 times
MVC-005S.JPG
MVC-005S.JPG (40.1 KiB) Viewed 2662 times
Armortek Models: Tiger 1, Panther G, Panzer IV, Sd Kfz 7, Sd Kfz 222, M4A3 Sherman, M3 Lee. Tamiya Models: Tiger 1 (3), King Tiger (3), Panther, Sherman (5).

User avatar
Chris Hall
Posts: 456
Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2015 12:34 pm
Location: Devizes, Wiltshire, UK
Has liked: 102 times
Been Liked: 102 times

Re: Mike's M3 Lee #12 Little Build Things

Post by Chris Hall » Fri Apr 26, 2019 8:34 am

It's not just the lack of room in that silly top turret ..... have you considered the fumes, and the vibration ? Not a good 'office'. That's one of the reasons why the British in Burma took them off and replaced them with Grant cupolas. The Brownings were more useful to the infantry.

Chris
2 x Mark IV's (Abt. 14 Beutepanzer Liesel and F30 Flaming Fire II)
Morris Quad, 2 x limbers and 1 x 25-pdr (45RA, Korea 1951)
M3 Lee (25th Dragoons, Burma 1944)

Post Reply